Photo: Denise Siegel

Grant-Lee Phillips – “Smoke and Sparks” (video) (premiere)

Grant-Lee Phillips releases a beautiful new video for The Narrows album highlight, "Smoke and Sparks".

Last Friday, Grant-Lee Phillips released a digital-only deluxe edition of The Narrows, which we gave an eight and named a PopMatters Pick back in March when the record came out. The new edition includes four previously unreleased demos and to celebrate Phillips is releasing a new video for album highlight “Smoke and Sparks”, a track that we called the album’s bread and butter, an “introspective, memorable, slow-tempo ballad”. Indeed, it’s that and Phillips shows music shows a renewed confidence following his family’s move from the Los Angeles area to Nashville. “Smoke and Sparks” is a stunner, a truly gorgeous, spare song with a beautiful video that suits the music to a tee.

Phillips says, “This was a song I began writing while still in LA, at least in terms of the music and what would eventually become the title. The words, smoke and sparks, suggested transcendence and possibly mortality. It was a lyric I would avoid for many months. Later that year, soon after my family and I arrived in Tennessee, my dad’s health began to spiral. At his side, I witnessed his acceptance and grace in the throes of cancer. Back at my family home, I woke up one night and finished the song. My dad passed away the following morning. Often it seems like a song is trying to speak to me — well before there are any words. My job is to listen.”

“The music video for ‘Smoke and Sparks’ was directed by Kris Kristensen. This marks the third video we’ve done together. Kris, who is based in Seattle, has consistently pulled off one cinematic miracle after the next, typically being limited to a maximum of a few hours to shoot when I come through town to perform. With his strong instincts, great eye and sensitivity for the music, he always finds a visual entrance to the song. The elemental power of fire, of the sea — these images have a way of complimenting the lyrics without diluting them and without being too on the nose. That’s a delicate balance. The video for ‘Smoke and Sparks’ allows the song, with it’s theme of transcendence, to shine through.”